Intended for healthcare professionals


NHS trust was negligent in failing to recognise child’s serious bacterial infection, says High Court

BMJ 2020; 369 doi: (Published 24 June 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;369:m2527
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. The BMJ

A High Court judge has ruled that an NHS trust was negligent in failing to consider early enough that a toddler with fever, lethargy, and vomiting might have had a serious bacterial infection and to give her intramuscular antibiotics.1

Mr Justice Johnson said that doctors from University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust should have ordered a lumbar puncture on the 15 month old girl on the day she was first seen or the next day.

The girl, referred to in court as SC, was sent by her GP to the hospital by ambulance on 26 January 2006 with a note describing his findings on examination and ending “?meningitis.” The GP, Mark Dennison, had given her intramuscular penicillin.

But the doctors who saw her at the hospital thought …

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